Resources

One of the great characteristics of the board game hobby is the willingness of veterans and experts to share their experience and insights with others who are eager to know. This generosity is often talked about among hobby enthusiasts and may sound like tales of rainbows and unicorns. No group of people is without its ogres, but in my experience this spirit truly spans from fellow gamers at a convention to successful designers and publishers. Perhaps someday others will include this blog and website among their fairy tales.

At this point in my design journey I can only share what I am attempting to accomplish and what others are doing that informs and inspires me. In that spirit I will periodically include a blog post that features just such a resource that I have enjoyed and appreciate. The title of these will lead with “Resource Focus:” and they will all be categorized under the Resource tag.

As it will take a while to feature each of these resources, you can find a more comprehensive list on the Resources page.

Community Focus: BGG Community Information

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The BGG games pages include tons of community contributed content. Obviously, I am an avid user of the site, but have traditionally participated to a limited degree and have been remiss in tangibly thanking others for their contributions. Let’s take a quick look at the various ways you can contribute to the site information and recognize the efforts of others, using Pandemic as our example..

Analysis Paralysis: Ask “The Geek”

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Some gamers have a problem with spending too much time analyzing the game state before making a move. I usually don’t suffer from this affliction (or should I say my gaming buddies don’t suffer from my affliction), but most gamers will succumb to this to some degree at some point. I usually don’t get too bothered by this. I am by nature an analytical person and can get wrapped around the axel at times when all I really needed was a quick answer. A common example is when I am working on a game design and I wonder if a particular mechanic or theme or combination of these has been used before. Am I doing something new or inadvertently rehashing something already done. I end up doing a lot of research on the subject instead of just plowing through my design iterations. Maybe I am looking for convenient distractions so I don’t have to think so hard on the design.

Resource Focus: Low Player Count Podcast

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The Low Player Count Podcast  is mostly a discussion about games and the experience playing them at (wait for it) low player counts – solo and two players. This includes games that are specifically designed for 1-2 players, games that are listed for player count ranges that include 1 or 2 players, and games that can be scaled down with variants. While they do some reviews of games as well, their focus is more general about what makes games good and particularly what makes them good at low player counts.

BoardGameHour Digest: Introduction

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As mentioned previously, I try to participate in the weekly BoardGameHour discussion. Since the “hour” of choice hits at noon in my time zone, I am usually able to attend. However, my office sees a fair amount of traffic and from noon to one I am first an employee and being a human interacting with the outside world comes second, so I often miss at least part of the hour.

Update 04-30-15: I can create these digests quickly for any BoardGameHour (within a day or two), but expressed to the Minister of Board Games that I would not openly post these digests without his blessing. So I am posting the ones I have created behind a login so they can be available upon request. If you would like to have access to these, simply request a login and mention the BoardGameHour as one of your interests. I will then let the  Minister of Board Games know that you have requested access. This way, if there is an interest we will know about it. Note: You can always go to Nurph and replay the event, but I find this to be tedious. Even if you participate in an event it is hard to follow all the conversations. The beauty of the digest is that it collects all posts into their respective conversations.

Resource Focus: Board Game Hour

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Board Game Hour is a little difficult to describe within my limited categories for resources. It is a weekly meet-up on Twitter to discuss board games and board game design. The meet-up is hosted on Nurph and moderated by the Minister of Board Games himself, Nate Brett. The “Hour” of interest is every Monday at: 7pm GMT (which I mention first since the Minister is in the UK). This translates to 2pm EST, 1pm CST, 12pm MST (which works great for me so I can join on my lunch hour), and 11am PST. Note: The time gets a little wonky at the time changes since the UK observes Daylight Savings Time differently than the US.

Resource Focus: Jamey Stegmaier

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Of the game design and development resources I have highlighted so far, this is the first that is a person rather than a brand. This is done with no intended slight to those highlighted previously; there are real people behind each one of them and in all cases a very small number of people (usually 2-4) behind each. What makes this case special is when I set out to write up this mention, I was at a loss to describe it in any way other than as Jamey himself.

Resource Focus: The Dice Tower Network

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The Dice Tower Network describes itself so, “The Dice Tower Network is a group of podcasts and videocasts that promotes excellence and fun in board gaming.” At the time of this writing, the network is about 25-30 associated, but independent podcasts offering audio and video entertainment related to table top games, game reviews, and game design. All of these are worth a listen to see if they suit your needs and wants, but not all are actively producing content. Several of these services will also be listed here in the Opie Games resources separately; concentrating on the ones that I find the most interesting and consistent with my needs.

Resource Focus: The Dice Tower

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The Dice Tower website, podcast, and anything you can think of to promote the board game hobby is the brain child of Tom Vasel. It is unlikely that you have found Opie Games without already being very familiar with the Dice Tower, but here is a quick breakdown. Eric Summerer has joined Tom as producer of the podcast and there are many contributors to the site and the web presence that is The Dice Tower. Tom and company produce an amazing amount of game related content every week.

Resource Focus: Board Game Geek

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If you don’t already have a Board Game Geek account, follow the Homepage link and set one up. Spend a few hours (or days) perusing the site and setting up some subscriptions to content that interests you. Then come back here. Board Game Geek was not the first resource featured here solely because I assume you already know everything you need about it.

Scott Alden and Derk Solko started the site in 2000 that has been growing at an increasing rate ever since. For more information, read the Wikipedia Article or visit the site and find out for yourself.

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